Business Week recently unveiled the 2008 Business Week 50, the magazine’s annual ranking of top companies.
An analysis of The BW 50 reveals one of an early marketing trend for 2008: Simplicity.
The rankings focus on two core financial measures: average return on capital and growth BW compared companies with others in their sectors to identify companies that are the best performers relative to their peers.
The #2 company, biotech firm Gilead, found a market for drugs that were simpler and cheaper than standard HIV treatments. The result: Gilead profits tripled since 2004.
Gilead wasn’t the only one cashing in on simplicity. Luxury handbag maker Coach simplified its handbags and found a huge market for small ticket items. Starbucks got back to basics by focusing on what it used to best: brewing a premium cup of coffee.
If you need further evidence that simplicity is king in 2008, look no further than Apple’s Mac Air, the ultra-slim laptop that has been the most buzzed about new product since…of all things…Apple’s iPhone in summer 2007.
All of this is in response to consumer demand for greater convenience.
The lesson here is that less may be more in 2008. Grabbing a bigger market share during a recession isn’t necessarily about offering consumers more choices, but offering choices that are more convenient. As consumers battle rising inflation and an uncertain economic future, “Time is Money” rings truer than ever.
It’s not just consumers, either. Small businesses are fighting recessionary forces, putting a premium on solutions that simplify operations.
Nowhere is Small Business America’s need for an easier, more convenient option more obvious than promoting their companies
Lack of access to marketing services puts smaller companies at a competitive disadvantage. With marketing budgets typically under $50,000, small and mid-size firms traditionally find themselves cobbling together a patchwork marketing effort: an in-house marketing guy for one piece, a freelancer for another, a do-it-yourself fix for another.
Mr. and Mrs. Small Business are no strangers to complication. Government regulation is a perennial thorn in the side of America’s entrepreneurs. Finding capital is like a no-win game of Three-card Monte. The health care puzzle remains a mystery.
The ability to reach out to customers easily and conveniently could be the make-or-break difference for small and mid-size firms in 2008. With so much at stake, “Simplify” may emerge as the most practical business advice of the year.